Google Play Services: Google’s Solution to Android Fragmentation

Ron Amadeo, writing for Ars Technica:

Calling Play Services an “app” doesn’t really tell the whole story. For starters, it has an insane amount of permissions. It’s basically a system-level process, and if the above list isn’t enough for whatever it needs to do next, it can actually give itself more permissions without the user’s consent. Play Services constantly runs in the background of every Android phone, and nearly every Google app relies on it to function. It’s updatable, but it doesn’t update through the Play Store like every other app. It has its own silent, automatic update mechanism that the user has no control over. In fact, most of the time the user never even knows an update has happened. The reason for the complete and absolute power this app has is simple: Google Play Services is Google’s new platform.

The big thing is that it’s available on 98.7 percent of active Android devices. So for Google’s own services, Android fragmentation is a solved problem. I don’t see how this helps third-party developers deal with Android fragmentation, though (other than integration between their apps and Google services). Google has solved their own fragmentation problem, and that’s it.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013